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Reaching Undetectable While Pregnant

April 17, 2013

Treatment Cascade: A Spotlight Series

Treatment Cascade: A Spotlight Series

I can remember the first time my viral load ever reached undetectable. I was 7 months pregnant and I had stopped taking my medicine for about a month. I had requested my doctor change my medicine several times. I was sick every day. I could not keep any food down and was in my third trimester of pregnancy. I wasn't sure if it was the baby, the HIV, or the AZT in the medicine that I was taking that made me sick so I had stopped taking the meds.

I felt better without it. But after my lab results and countless tears, my physician was expressing a lot of concern. My T cells had dropped down from 625 to about 550 and my viral load had gone back up to about 200-300 copies. I was already experiencing contractions and my physician was concerned that if I did not achieve an undetectable viral load in a month, the baby would be exposed to enough of the virus to transfer infection.

Masonia Traylor

Masonia Traylor

Luckily they prescribed me some medicine to help with the nausea/vomiting, and I was able to keep the medicine down. It was extremely stressful and frustrating but despite my depression and frame of mind I decided that I really didn't want my child to experience what I was, and needed to do what needed to be done to protect her.

Two weeks before my delivery of the baby, my viral load was less than 75 copies (undetectable). It was a relief but I was still scared because some copies were still showing. I was proud of myself. It was a struggle mentally, emotionally and physically, especially because I was pregnant. But I must say that having an HIV-negative baby was the best result of my undetectable viral load.

My undetectable viral load gave me confidence. I felt like it's better to know what's going on inside your body than to wait for HIV to ravage it. Being undetectable has allowed me to love myself in spite of the diagnosis and know that I'm protecting others from HIV by doing so.

Read other articles in this spotlight series.

Masonia B. Traylor is an HIV/AIDS advocate, public speaker and mother of two living in Atlanta, Ga. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, at the age of 23.

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
More News and Updates on HIV and Pregnancy

Reader Comments:

Comment by: JNM (Kenya) Fri., May. 3, 2013 at 4:51 am UTC
I am extremely encouraged by the stories and experiences of other HIV+ people who have achieved undetectable viral load. When I was diagnosed HIV+ five years ago, my CD4 count was 25 and had to be hospitalized for 2 months. The last two years my CD4 count has risen to 700+ and I really feel great physically. However, emotionally I often get quite down. Sub-consciously, I hate having to swallow the tabs every day-in the recent few months I have even skipped taking the meds. After reading your stories I am going to have my viral load checked and will be more faithful in swallowing the tabs.
I am not sue for how long the virus has lived in my system because my husband died 18 years ago and I have absolutely abstained from sex since.
He tested HIV+ 5 months before his death and he died of depression and self neglect.
I am determined to live a long life but the meds are really depressing and the regiment I take expensive.
I love the stories I have read and want to be a success story myself.
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